|Recent Gardening Committee meeting - from left: Arne Johanson, Will Johnson, Sue Marchetti|
Cox Conserves Heroes is an awards program created by Cox and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) that honors Heroes among us who work to create, preserve, improve or enhance the shared outdoor places in our communities.
We nominated Arne Johanson for his work in the restoration field (excuse the pun) and he is now one of three finalists.
This is very exciting.
Here is the way Greg Rubin describes Arne: ""Arne Johanson is one of my conservation heroes. For years he has been doing incredibly important work with very little fanfare. Arne is so modest, in fact, that few know of the significant contributions he is making to the health of our local ecology in the Escondido/Rancho Bernardo/Poway areas. While so much emphasis (and money) is thrown at replanting, Arne realized that the eradication of weeds is essential to the success of any ecological restoration project.
In fact, he came to the conclusion that if the sites are maintained weed-free, the ecology will often start to recover on its own. Along the way he has pioneered procedures that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of his methods. Arne has applied this successful and cost effective approach to many acres of habitat, preventing their conversion to weedy, fire-prone "cow pasture" and ensuring ecological viability for many years to come.
A number of his sites are now park-like in their beauty and diversity, harkening back to a time when our ecology was so clean that indians could comfortably walk barefoot for hundreds of miles. It is backbreaking, thankless work. It is a strategy that favors long term success over the instant gratification of "feel good" planting. New plants often fail because our extremely delicate, fragile native ecology is overrun by aggressive, non-native invasives unchecked by bio-controls. Arne is both commander and infantryman on the front line of the weed wars. His tireless efforts to re-establish our sense of regional identity and his contributions to our quality of life are deserving of recognition."